Marks & Spencer made a giant step forward into multi-channel retailing yesterday when it announced that it had formed agreements with four 'new commerce' partners. The high street retailer has signed up with Microsoft's consumer Internet service, MSN; BBC Worldwide's online shopping portal,; digital TV company ,Open; and Telewest, the broadband cable communications operator. Keith Bogg, director, Marks & Spencer Home and New Selling Channels, said: " Our partners were attracted by the strength of the M&S brand and, in return, partnering with them means that we will be able to acquire new customers at very attractive costs." He continued: "It is very clear that for convenience our customers want the option to shop for our products and services via different channels, whether it be in store, via our catalogue, over the Internet or digital TV. The development of our multi-channel offer means that we will be able to give our customers greater choice and improved customer service, while enabling us to maintain a closer relationship with them throughout the transaction process."